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Keeping social media in house

Outsourcing efforts may create disconnect with consumers
Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 06:00
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Navigating the ever-expanding world of social media can be a confusing task – especially for shop owners who are often more focused on replacing fuel pumps than posting new photos on Facebook. As a result, many shop owners either turn to a social media agency to manage their social media efforts or forgo social media altogether.

Neither option is ideal, but opting out of social media altogether is worse, since it can potentially cost a shop the opportunity to build relationships and drive sales. And while I understand the convenience of delegating social media to an outside vendor, it’s rare to find an agency or consultant who can accurately convey the unique personality or characteristics of your shop. That lack of “customized content” makes it difficult to connect with customers and can actually result in you having the same type of generic posts as many of your competitors.

So, while I know social media can be time consuming, I believe it is worth doing yourself. Following some simple rules can make managing social media not only less frustrating, but more efficient and effective. Here are some basics to help guide you through the social media maze.

Choose your channels carefully
The social media landscape is overflowing with options, but as is the case with traditional advertising vehicles, only a small portion will benefit your business.

For shop owners, I recommend Facebook, Google Plus, Yelp and and YouTube. In my experience, these four channels seem to have the best conversion rates and make it more likely that you will reach your target audience.

·      Facebook is the world’s largest social network and it’s becoming the place consumers are increasingly turning to when searching for goods and services. Nearly 1 in 3 Facebook users has purchased a product or service after sharing, liking or commenting on it on the social media platform – making it the channel most likely to drive purchases, according to the software and marketing research firm Vision Critical.

·      Google Plus may not be as large as Facebook, but it can have a tremendous impact on your search rankings and anything that drives more consumers to your site is worthwhile.

·      Like it or not, millions of people use Yelp to research businesses, so if you’re not active on the site, it could mean missing out on potential customers. Earning positive reviews on the site could also translate into increased sales if research serves as any indicator. A Harvard Business School study identified a correlation between high Yelp rankings and revenue and another survey from Dimensional Research found that 90 percent of consumers who read online reviews claimed that positive reviews influenced their buying decisions.

·      Posting videos on YouTube can not only boost your search rankings but also drive more engagement with followers of your Facebook, Google Plus page and website.

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